What is your yoga? #2

Written by Hillary R. Hoff

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Balancing

Balancing poses enhance concentration, memory, focus, coordination, and develop stability. Balancing poses help reduce tension and fatigue. Specific balancing poses help with certain areas of the body. Standing balancing poses strengthen the lower half of the body such as the legs and knee joints, which also decrease the risk of injuries and falling as you age; while arm balances build strength in the upper body such as the arms, wrists and shoulders (Yoga Journal). Balancing poses are not only successful by focusing on a single object or even standing still. It is extremely helpful to focus and stand still while balancing yet balancing is generated more so by breath and relaxation. Maybe your balancing poses can come into play while getting ready in the morning, cooking dinner, or driving to work. The benefits of balancing poses do not need to be while you are standing, on your arms, or even physical at all for the matter. If you simply take a deep inhalation and focus on the gut of your core, the opening of your heart, or ground yourself on all the four corners of your feet, it can easily be considered a balancing pose. I tend to practice balancing poses when I brush my teeth, pick something up from the kitchen floor, or even when driving a motorbike. Another example is practicing arm balances without balancing on your arms at all. Conquering the arm balance headstand pose may be an accomplishment of conquering fear while also allowing blood to flow to an area of the body which rejuvenates and doesn’t receive as much contact as it should. Many people may conquer the same feelings of fear and rejuvenation by facing a controversy with a loved one, giving a long over due hug to a friend or sky diving from an airplane.

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 Twists and Binds

Twists and binds are fantastic poses to help direct the digestion system and support the flow of metabolism. Massaging the internal organs and moving around your food to keep things at a flow reduces emotional fatigue, abdominal bloating or cramping in the stomach and more. Also twists and binds have the power to humble us and alter our perspectives. A creative yogi speaks about twists and binds in her blog post, adding new insight I had never considered before. Ironically she changed my perspective while reading about the alteration of perspective while in a twist or bind (haha, you’re suppose to laugh). Juhea Kim writes:

“Going into a twist challenges your sense of control as much as inversions do. We are so used to having our heads directly over our shoulders, which are above our hips, always facing forward from the moment we wake up until we close our eyes to fall asleep. And this fixed perspective doesn’t help us see in new ways. Twists and binds are detoxifying and will encourage your healthy digestion. I also find that they are mentally and spiritually soothing. They help calm anxieties by bringing focus inward, rather than out” (http://www.peacefuldumpling.com/benefits-yoga-twists-binds-6-poses).

Twisting is such a convenient action but often forgotten in our fast paced lives. Twisting can be useful when sitting in a chair, at work, or when stopped at a stoplight in the car. You may twist flaring your arms while waiting for a bus or in line for the bathroom. You may twist when chatting with a friend; enhancing your active listening skills and the ability to remember what your friend is saying to you. At any time in the day, pretend your stomach is a sponge and ring yourself out by holding on to something from the opposite side of your back and look in the opposite direction your stomach is twisting. Twisting mostly occurs involving the stomach but you can twist any area of your body if you so please. I absolutely love twisting and try to incorporate it with every move I make on a constant basis. Sometimes I get strange looks, but that’s alright. My philosophy is that the more people that do it, the less strange it may seem.

// Pictures: www.boukjekassenaar.nl

 


Sophie Nusselder

My name is Sophie Nusselder. I started practicing and teaching yoga in 2008 and knew I started travelling a path that would change my life. Ever since my childhood I remember having a natural desire for physical movement. Born and raised on the Dutch countryside I loved to bike and hike in nature. The awareness of the breath in yoga made me connect with deeper layers. A fortification of magic in life! To me yoga means aligning. Yoga and meditation are tools to remove that what blocks me and allow space – the space of pure presence. By constantly returning to this space I discover what truth is and what is not. It’s direct communication, which results in pure clarity, free feelings, liberation and creativity. I experience yoga as a feeding of my deepest yearning, it creates challenges to develop myself and it works as a support in my inner pursuits.

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